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Chincoteague Visitor
Transportation Study
Draft Presentation
November 1998
The Marketing Source, Inc.
Study Objective
To assess transportation impacts, travel
patterns and mobility needs of visitors to
Chincoteague and Assateague Islands
during the peak tourist season.
THE MARKETING SOURCE, INC.
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Study Components
Chincoteague
Surveys
Assateague
Surveys
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Methodology
Chincoteague Surveys





310 intercept surveys
completed in town
Self-administered
Tourists only
Incentive: Ice cream coupon
Conducted August 20-23,
1998
Assateague Surveys







224 surveys completed while
visiting Assateague
Distributed randomly at toll
booths
Self-administered
Some residents allowed
Incentive: $5.00
License plate survey conducted
Conducted August 20-23, 1998
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Who was interviewed?
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Profile of respondents

Gender:
41% men; 59% women

Age:
Under 30 years

Income:
8%
30-39 years
40-49 years
50+ years
30
36
26
Under $35K
14%
$35-49K
$50-74K
$75-100K
Over $100K
21
29
17
18
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Who comes to Chincoteague and
Assateague Islands?
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Many visitors come from Pennsylvania,
Eastern Shore, and other parts of
Maryland.
NJ
8%
PA
21%
NY
5%
MD
23%
DE
3%
Eastern Shore
22%
VA
4%
Other States
10%
Source: License Plate Survey; Base = 5,150
THE MARKETING SOURCE, INC.
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Origin points differ by length of
visit.
State
Maryland
Pennsylvania
Accomack
Northhampton
Other Eastern Shore
New Jersey
Virginia
New York
Delaware
Weekday
Weekend
21%
25%
7%
3%
10%
8%
5%
6%
2%
27%
21%
6%
1%
17%
7%
3%
4%
4%
Source: License Plate Survey; Base = 5,150
9
Three-fourths (76%) of those surveyed had
previously visited Chincoteague Island.
Among repeat visitors…
Repeat Visitors
76%
First-time Visitors
24%
Question:Is this your first visit to
Chincoteague? (Base = 534)
• 33% had visited 1-3 times; 67%
had visited 4+ times (over past
5 years).
• Most stay for a week or more.
• Frequent visitors (4+ times in
5 years) are more likely to rate
weekend traffic a problem and
also rate parking at
Assateague Beach a problem.
• Repeat visitors are more likely
to not want any changes to
occur.
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First-time visitors
First time visitors tend to be…
First-time Visitors
24%
• more likely to be “stopping by”
on their way to another
destination.
• stay for shorter lengths of time.
• less likely to be biking or
shopping compared to other
tourist types.
• less likely to think that traffic or
parking is a problem.
• more likely to express interest in
a trolley system.
Repeat Visitors
76%
Question:Is this your first visit to
Chincoteague? (Base = 534)
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Day only visitors.
Day only visitors are more likely
to be:
One day
13%
 first time visitors also.
 visiting as a stop off to
another destination.
Day only visitors are less likely
to:
 participate in outdoor
activities.
More than one day
87%
Question: How long will you be staying in
Chincoteague during this visit? (Base = 534)
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The majority (71%) of the persons interviewed
have at least 3 persons in their party..
Number in Party
30%
5+
3 to 4
41%
1 to 2
29%
0%
Question: How
20%
40%
60%
many people, including yourself, are in your party? (Base = 533) Average = 4.2 persons
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Over half (56%) of tourist travel with children
under 12 years old.
Presence of Children in Party
Children
13-16 years
21%
Children
<12 years
56%
No children
37%
0%
20%
40%
60%
Question: How many children under 12 years old are in
your party? How many children 13-16 years old are in
your party? (Base = 531)
Those with young children..
• are more active in outdoor
activities.
• use their car more often.
• stay longer.
• say they would visit more
often with pedestrian
friendly downtown.
• receptive to proposed
enhancements (trolley,
additional bike trails/racks,
bike lanes, and new
interpretive center.
• tend to be 30-39 years old.
14
For the majority (89%), Chincoteague
Island is the final trip destination.
Only 1 in 10 (11%) say it is a stop-off
point to another destination.
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Major destinations visiting while on this
trip include:
Williamsburg
11%
Ocean City
9%
Virginia Beach
7%
Washington DC
5%
Maryland (unspecified)
12%
Virginia (unspecified)
16%
Caution: Small sample size; Base =46
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Length of stay is split equally among weekend
(33%) visitors and week-long (34%) tourists.
40%
34%
33%
30%
20%
13%
8%
10%
6%
6%
Question:
nt
k
k
id
e
Re
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e
llTi
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Pa
Lo
rt
/F
u
ng
er
En
th
a
n
a
tir
e
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ee
W
ee
nd
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ee
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ee
26
D
ay
/L
o
s
ng
(m
D
ay
id
-w
O
ee
nl
y
k)
0%
How long will you be staying in Chincoteague during this visit? (Base =532)
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What are the spending habits?
Amount Spent by Length of Stay
Length of Stay
Day Only Weekend
Week
(Base)
(58)*
(156)
(162)
Less than $300
$300-499
$500-999
$1,000-1,499
$1,500 or more
88%
5
5
2
0
34%
28
29
6
3
8%
14
30
30
18
* Caution: Low sample size
Question: What is the approximate total amount of money you will spend while on this trip to the
islands?
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What do Tourists do while visiting the
islands?
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The most popular activities among tourists
are the beaches and the wildlife.
Go to beach
91%
Observe wildlife
80%
Dining
77%
Shopping
74%
Nature trails
68%
Biking
53%
Fishing
39%
Boating
29%
Camping
18%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
Question: What activities have you participated in or plan to participate in while on this visit to the islands?
(Base = 534; multiple responses)
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100%
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Activities by tourist type
Activity
First-time
Visitors
With Young
Children
Day Only
Go to beach
88
96
66
Observe wildlife
82
80
66
Dining
73
79
44
Shopping
63
75
41
Nature trails
69
72
39
Biking
44
59
17
Fishing
31
45
14
Boating
19
33
3
Camping
11
20
6
21
Assateague Beach, Main St. attractions and
the Wildlife Refuge are the most popular
destinations for visitors.
% who visit this destination
98%
Beach
95%
Shopping/dining on Main St.
92%
Wildlife Refuge
Shopping/dining - other island
83%
Shopping/dining on Maddox
95%
Visitors' Center
75%
Tom's Cove
70%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Question: During your stay, approximately how many times do you anticipate visiting the
following destinations?
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The average number of visits to each
destination varies by length of visit.
Average Visits by Length of Visit
Destination
Day Only
Shopping or dining on Main Street
Shopping or dining on Maddox Rd.
Shopping or dining at other places
on the island
Assateague Beach
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Chincoteague Refuge Visitors’ Center
Tom’s Cove Visitors’ Center (on beach)
Weekend
Week
2
2
2
3
3
2
4
4
3
1
1
1
1
3
2
1
1
6
4
2
2
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How do visitors travel around
Chincoteague and Assateague Islands?
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Over a third (36%) of the respondents say they
will use their car over 11 times during their trip.
40%
36%
30%
26%
22%
20%
14%
10%
2%
0%
0
Question:
1 to 2
3 to 5
6 to 10
11+
By the end of your visit, how many times do you think you will have used your car to travel to
destinations within Chincoteague and Assateague Islands? (Base =521)
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Over half (57%) of week-long visitors use
their vehicles 11 or more times.
Length of Visit
(Base)
Vehicle Use
None
Day Only
Weekend
(68)
(168)
(180)
2%
0%
6%
Week
1-2 times
62
12
2
3-5 times
20
38
13
6-10 times
9
34
28
11+ times
3
14
57
By the end of your visit, how many times do you think you will have used your car to travel
to destinations within Chincoteague and Assateague Islands?
Question:
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Most visitors drive their cars to
destinations.
%
Auto
Shopping or dining at other places
on the island
Assateague Beach
Tom’s Cove Visitors’ Center (on beach)
Shopping or dining on Maddox Rd.
Chincoteague Refuge Visitors’ Center
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
86%
%
Walk
6%
%
Combin-
Bike
ation
3%
5%
82
9
6
3
75
14
7
4
74
10
7
9
Shopping or dining on Main Street
72
16
4
8
69
23
3
5
64
23
7
6
Question: Please fill in the number of times you anticipate visiting each destination as well as
the way you will most often travel there.
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Do visitors think that traffic congestion
and parking conditions are a problem?
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Visitors acknowledge that traffic is more
congested on the weekend. However, only
about a third say that it is a problem.
% “4” and “5” responses
38%
Main St.
11%
40%
Maddox St.
15%
Weekend
Weekday
28%
Wildlife
Refuge
7%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
Question: How would you rate the overall automobile TRAFFIC CONGESTION on the islands both
during the week and on the weekend? Use a scale of 1 to 5, where “5” is a big problem and “1” is no
problem at all.
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Over a third of visitors say weekend parking
on Main St. and Maddox is a problem.
% “4” and “5” responses
36%
Main St.
14%
47%
Maddox St.
13%
Assateague
Beach
Weekend
23%
10%
Wildlife
Refuge
Weekday
23%
5%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
Question: How would you rate the OVERALL PARKING CONDITIONS on the islands both during the
week and on the weekend? Use a scale of 1 to 5, where “5” is a big problem and “1” is no problem at
all.
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What do visitors think about
possible improvements?
 Pedestrian-Friendly Downtown
 Trolley Service
 Additional Bike Trails/Racks
 New Educational/Interpretive Center
 Visitors’ Input
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Nearly a third (30%) of visitors say they would
visit downtown more often if it were more
pedestrian-friendly.
Reaction to Pedestrian-Friendly
Downtown Proposal
Would not influence
plans
Visit downtown more
often
53%
30%
18%
Visit islands more often
Lengthen stay
Other
0%
Those visitors who support the pedestrianfriendly downtown are more likely to:
• visited 1-3 times in the past 5
years.
• be visitors with children under
12 years. (36%)
9%
10%
20%
40%
60%
Question: A proposed idea is a pedestrian-friendly downtown
with wide sidewalks, bike lanes, and a trolley system that would
provide central access to shopping and restaurants. Which of the
following describe how this pedestrian-friendly downtown might
affect your future plans to visit the islands? [Check all that apply]
Base = 534
Downtown changes are less
likely to influence frequent
visitors (4+ times in 5 years).
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About one-third (36%) say they would be “very
likely” to use a 15-minute trolley service.
Those who support Trolley Service tend to:



be first time visitors
have children under 12 years
be high among tourists that
have visited 1-3 times in 5
years
Those who Do Not support Trolley Service tend
to:
 be seasoned visitors (4+ times
in 5 years)
 have no children.
 be older visitors age 50+
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Support for 30-minute trolley versus 15minute trolley.
30 minute
15 minute
50%
45%
40%
36%
32%
35%
30%
25%
25%
28%
29%
20%
19%
15%
15%
16%
10%
5%
0%
Very Likely
So mewhat Likely
No t Very Likely
No t A t A ll likely
Question: If trolley service were available every 15 minutes (every 30 minutes) to take you around the
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island of Chincoteague, how likely would you be to use that service? [Check one]
Suggested Trolley Destinations
outside of Chincoteague Island
Those that responded mentioned:

Assateague Beach
42%

Assateague Island (unspecified)
34

NASA/Wallops Island
11

Wildlife areas/Refuge
8

Tom’s Cove Visitors’ Center
3
Question: What destinations, other than the Island of Chincoteague, would you like the
trolley to go? Base =175
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Nearly half of visitors say they would likely
use additional bike trails/racks or bike lanes
adjacent to major thoroughfares.
46%
"5" Very likely
47%
18%
17%
"4"
15%
16%
"3"
Bike lanes near
thoroughfares
8%
7%
"2"
Additional bike
lanes/racks
14%
13%
"1" Not at all likely
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
Question: To what extent would you use additional bike trails and bike racks around Chincoteague (Base
= 525) or bike lanes adjacent to the major thoroughfares in Chincoteague (Base = 520) if they were made
available to you? Please use a scale of 1 to 5, where “5” is very likely to use and “1” is not at all likely to
use.
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Over half (57%) say they would visit a new
educational/interpretive center.
Reaction to
Educational/Interpretive Center
57%
Would visit center
Would not influence
plans
37%
16%
Visit more often
Lengthen stay
7%
Other
5%
0%
20%
Those visitors who would visit the
educational center tend to:
• Be visitors with children under
the age of 12 years.
• Those who were already visiting
Assateague Island.
Those less likely to visit the center:
40%
60%
• Full/part-time residents
• Those visitors without children
Question: An educational and interpretive center is proposed for the
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to replace the existing small
contact center. This center will offer visitors more wildlife education
programs, hands-on displays, classrooms, day camps, seminars,
and an auditorium. Which of the following describe how this center
might affect your future plans to visit the islands? [Check all that
apply] Base = 534
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Visitors’ suggested improvements.

Do not change anything
14%

Better transportation
13

More/better bike trails
12

Improve beach area
6

Better accommodations
2
Question: What improvements would enhance your visit to the islands? Base =534
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What do visitors think about
Assateague Island?
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On average, tourists visit Assateague Island
about 1.6 times each day.
60%
50%
51%
40%
33%
30%
20%
10%
7%
9%
0%
1
3
2
Average number of visits each day
4+
Question: On average, how many times did you visit Chincoteague Refuge/Assateague Island each day?
(Base = 202)
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On the days surveyed, over half (56%) of the
visitors spent 3-5 hours at the Refuge.
60%
56%
40%
23%
20%
14%
6%
1%
0%
< 1 Hour
1-2 Hours
3-5 Hours
6-8 Hours
8+ Hours
Question: What was the total length of time you spent at the refuge today? (Base =219)
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The majority (68%) of visitors travel to
Assateague Island by auto.
Auto
68%
Bike
15%
Walk
1%
Combination
16%
Question: On average, how did you typically travel there? (Base = 214)
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Most (59%) visitors purchase weekly
passes and the majority (89%) believe
that the pass price is “just right”.
Type of pass purchased:
Weekly
59%
Annual
10
Federal Duck Stamp
9
Golden Age
7
Cyclist/Walk-in
4
Golden Eagle
1
Unsure
9
Reaction to Pass Price
Too Too
high low
5% 6%
Just
Right
89%
Question: What type of Refuge entrance pass
did you use? Base = 220
Question: Do you feel that the price
of your entrance pass was too high,
too low or just right? Base =213
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“Beaches” and “wildlife observation” are the
most frequently stated reasons why tourists
come to the Assateague.
Beaches
88%
Wildlife observation
71%
Biking
43%
Wildlife photography
19%
Wildlife programs
17%
Other
27%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Question: Why did you select Assateague as your vacation destination? (Base = 224; multiple responses)
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The beach and area trails are rated the
highest among Assateague attractions.
Base = Those who responded
Beach
31%
Trails
42%
Wildlife viewing
37%
Visitors' Center
36%
94%
63%
45%
87%
82%
45%
36%
72%
Good
Interpretive
programs
35%
0%
20%
36%
40%
60%
71%
80%
Excellent
100%
Question: How would you rate the following? Use a scale of 1 to 5, where “5” is excellent and “1” is poor.
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Why Assateague Beach was chosen
over other beaches.

Not commercialized
33%

Nice beach area
22

Not as crowded
22

Nature/wildlife
20

Close proximity to home
12

Quiet/private/slow pace
10

Beautiful scenery
8
Question: If you checked “Beaches”, why did you choose Assateague Beach over other beaches on the
East Coast? Base =198
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Summary Findings:
Points of Origin

Assateague tourists are primarily traveling from
Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New
Jersey.

Approximately 10% of weekday visitors and 17%
of weekend visitors are residents of the Eastern
Shore.
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Summary Findings:
Visitation

About one-quarter (24%) of the tourists are visiting
Chincoteague for the first-time. These visitors are more
likely to be staying for shorter periods.

Three-quarters of the tourists are repeat visitors, with
many having been at least 4 times over the past 5 years.
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48
Summary Findings:
Length of Visit

Close to 10% of the island visitors are stopping
off on their way to a primary destination.

Only 13% of tourists are visiting for the day only.
A third are staying for the weekend and another
third are week-long visitors.
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49
Summary Findings:
Composition of Tourists




Although one-third of tourists are traveling alone or with
one other person during their visit, the majority are
traveling with children.
Families with young children (under 12 years) tend to be
participating more in outdoor activities. They also are
staying longer.
Families with young children would likely use new bike
trails, bike lanes and they would use a trolley system if
made available.
In addition, most families with small children would visit
a new educational/interpretive center.
THE MARKETING SOURCE, INC.
50
Summary Findings:
Activities

The beach and observing wildlife are the most
popular activities among tourists, followed by
shopping and dining out on Main Street and
visiting the Wildlife Refuge.

Most visitors use their car to travel to these
attractions.

Biking is most popular to the Wildlife Refuge, to
Tom’s Cove and shopping and dining on Maddox
Blvd.
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Summary Findings:
Perceived traffic and parking problems

Few people noted problems on the weekday. But
about a third categorize traffic congestion as a
“problem” on the weekend.

A similar pattern was found for perceived
parking problems. Respondents particularly
noted weekend parking problems on Main St.
and Maddox St.
THE MARKETING SOURCE, INC.
52
Summary Findings:
Perceived traffic and parking problems

. Over half of the tourists polled say they would consider
using trolley service. Many would like to see the trolley
go to Assateague Island, specifically the beach area.
 Tourists with young children and first time visitors and
more likely to use a trolley system, while seasoned
visitors (4+times in 5 years) and older visitors are less
likely to use a trolley system.
 About a third say they would visit the downtown area
more often if it were pedestrian-friendly.
 The majority support additional bike trails/racks and
bike lanes adjacentTHEtoMARKETING
majorSOURCE,
thoroughfares.
INC.
53
Summary Findings:
Perceived traffic and parking problems

Most (57%) would visit a new interpretive and
educational center. Groups with children under
12 years would be more likely to visit while
fulltime/part-time residents were less likely to
visit a new center.
54
Summary Findings:
Assateague Island

Like Chincoteague visitors, Assateague Island
tourists are most likely to be repeat visitors.

Cars (68%) are the main mode of transportation
used by tourists to travel to Assateague. Biking
(15%) is the next most popular mode of travel
used.

Tourists are visiting Assateague Island multiple
times each day (1.6 times ).
55
Summary Findings:
Assateague Island

Over half of Assateague Island visitors spent 3-5
hours at the refuge.

Most visitors to Assateague purchase a weekly
pass. In addition, most feel that the entrance fee
is fairly priced.

The beaches , wildlife and biking are the most
popular activities on Assateague Island.
THE MARKETING SOURCE, INC.
56
Summary Findings:
Assateague Island

Visitors chose Assateague as their vacation
destination over other beaches because the
beach was not commercialized and crowded. In
addition, they also mentioned that wildlife was
an appealing attribute of the island.
THE MARKETING SOURCE, INC.
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